N O   P A R T   O F   I T
Far more important than baking bread is the urge to take dough -beating to the extreme - Otto Muehl

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Interview Series #9: GX Jupitter-Larsen

The NO PART OF IT Interview series was a strain of questions sent to a number of different people between February and March 2019. Each entry was scheduled chronologically to be thrust upon the world on a monthly basis since then. Each individual is introduced informally as if they were being discussed at a bar.

 Scheduled on February 17, 2019
I remember being in Denver with GX Jupitter-Larsen, and relating with him about how desolate some cities were in the 80s.  For him, he talked of Denver and San Francisco, and how dead bodies would be left to decay completely underneath a bridge or inside of a viaduct, and this is how some of the robotic contraptions came to have animal components to them during his tenure in Survival Research Laboratories.  To be clear, GX only did sound design for these performances of destructive robotic creatures, but sound is not what he is limited to.  He's got a whole philosophy, language, and measurement system designed to explain his particular form of dadaism.  One could be kept busy for a while in reading about his abstract terms such as "The Permawave", "The Polywave", or my favorite, "Xylowave".

Jupitter-Larsen has taken 7 inch records that are blank, and released them, advising people to scratch the surface themselves.  Or he has released a blank cassette packed into a bag full of dirt.  Lathe cut records made of cardboard, which will disintegrate upon playback, and an album that is played by having water poured on it.  I have seen him perform with his project The Haters at least four times.  Two of those times was during his "Loud Luggage" period, where he had radio transistors inside of briefcases, which were interrupted by microphone feedback.  I have seen incredible sounds come out of the simple rubbing or pounding of these briefcases, not to mention when someone takes an angle grinder to them.

Personally, GX performed with Blood Rhythms once, when we were throwing around boxes of glass and taking belt sanders to sheet metal, and GX used the sheet metal as a reflective surface for sound, rather than banging on it or other obvious choices, when there was a missing belt sander. He was actually putting the metal up in the air as if to deflect sound.  With the concept of radio art, he has been known to air recordings of broken transmitters (something I have also had the opportunity to record/do), or run tape loops through several different tape heads for a "seamless sound sculpture"...  One of my favorite releases of his is a radio art installation that he did on my old radio show, which was four hours long.  When I asked him if I could release it on DVD, he said no, because it was intended for radio only.  On top of that we have done a split release and participated in another group live performance, and in short, he has always been a gracious and kind person, sitting through a lot of noise fests while many of us spent much more time outside, and working with lesser known young bucks when it suits him.  I am not sure how I would go about a direct interview with him, but this format seems to work, and I'm honored to be able to partake!  Thanks for everything!

Arvo Zylo:  What types of things have you been getting into lately?

GX Jupitter-Larsen: Influencing Machine Records is releasing a double 10 inch for The Haters 40th Anniversary. A total of four sides, one for each decade. Each side will have an unreleased track from a different decade. The Thinking Ross Did for 1989; Untitled Title Shot for 1999; Audiothecary for 2009; and Totimorphous Ubiety Guide for 2019. The release also includes a flexi of AMK playing the records in his own very special way.

AZ:  What you do, do you do it as an artist, or is it a hobby?

GX: The question should be, is what I do a career or a mission. Careers can make you money. Missions however always cost you. What I do has cost me dearly. Still, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

AZ:  How would you describe what you do?

GX: My life. Just life. Nothing more. Nothing less.

AZ:  How would you describe your creative progression over the years, in a brief synopsis?

GX: A phonograph record is just a noisy photograph. Likewise, a photograph is just a quiet phonograph.

AZ:  How would you describe your philosophy?

GX: The nihilist would never fear the post office. He would embrace it as an extension of himself.

AZ:  Do you believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods?  If no, then maybe you'll share your favorite conspiracy theory.

GX: I do not believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods. Interestingly, the term “conspiracy theory” was invented by the CIA to discredit their critics while covering up their crimes in plain sight.

AZ:  What would you say was your most definitive experience?

GX: When I was nine, I used to run into heavy traffic just for the fun of it. I never got hit. Came close a couple of times, but always timed it just right. Otherwise I was a perfectly quiet child who always kept to himself. Now, I had never done this type of thing again till some 26 years later on. While I was walking down a busy street in San Fransisco’s Mission district, in the middle of the afternoon I was suddenly attacked by members of a local gang. To escape I ran into traffic. The gang members freaked out and ran off. I found safety in the midst of all the rushing cars and trucks.

AZ:  What is something you'd like people to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask?

GX:  This is going to sound ridiculously unreasonable, but I find the speed of light infuriatingly slow. Even if we were standing next to each other, I’d still be seeing you as you were three namoseconds in the past. That’s too slow. The slowness of light is a pimple on the face of nature. I wish I could find something faster than light to see with.

AZ:  Would you care to name any theoretical "desert island" records, or at least releases that you think are approaching your concept of "perfect"?

GX:  Chop Shop’s “Steel Plate” Double 10 inch, MSBR “Ultimate Ambience” LP, the “Euragine” CD by Anne Gillis, the “White Elephant” CD by Speculum Fight, "Somnambul" CD by Radiosonde, AMK’s “The Lonesome Echo” CD, and Small Cruel Party’s “Resin Parched Chthonic” LP.

AZ:  What is the earliest childhood memory you can recall?

GX:  My 5th birthday. My mother had baked me a cake. It was super surgery.

AZ:  Are you able to appreciate other peoples' creative work regardless of their personal shortcomings or inherent flaws?

GX:  No. While I can forgive most shortcomings, nobody is perfect, least of all me, I can not tolerate any degree of rudeness or impoliteness from anyone. I don’t care who you think you are or what you think you’ve achieved.

AZ:  Do you have any heroes?

GX:  Marcel Duchamp; mind you, these days I can’t help but think that he was probably somebody else’s readymade.

AZ:  What would you like to have on your epitaph?  

GX:  "Death is no time to be practical."

I'm So Loathsome I Could Cry

ballast NVP011: Children of the Stones re-envisioned by Arvo Zylo (2 x 3” CDR)
I think I really got to know Arvo maybe 10 or so years ago, mostly through his live performances. Whether solo or with ensembles, his live sets were almost always intense, dense, ride-the-mixer-into-the-red, primal “industrial:” sanders played on sheet metal, that sort of stuff. It was material I really enjoyed hearing live.
So when Arvo sent me the audio for this release, I was surprised to hear the result of his densely stirred, multiple layers of looping and phasing (as in, triple digit layering, an extremely common pathway for his studio recordings), was minimal—yet immensely immersive. Tones, frequencies, and snippets of sound (all sourced from the TV series of the same name) layer, swim, and ebb around one another to create aural waves that then radiate and fold back into themselves. Instead of Haters, I was reminded of Hafler Trio or Nurse With Wound. It’s a rare combination of breathing room and myriad layers of shifting and sliding parts: new elements and transitions seem to peek through over repeated listens.
Some additional info about the release.
This release comes in a hardback book-like package with a hand stamped cover, screen-printed interior, two small posters, and is numbered and signed by Arvo. The edition is 55 copies.


The new BLOOD RHYTHMS - CIVIL WAR LP was reviewed by noise veteran HOWARD STELZER at Vital Weekly:

BLOOD RHYTHMS - CIVIL WAR (LP + book by No Part of It)

Holy shit. This album is intense. I’ve listened several times over, and find several things about it fascinating. Compositionally, it packs a lot into a short amount of time. As a complete experience from start to finish, “Civil War” is remarkably well constructed and compelling. It’s sonically deep and detailed, compositionally varied and skillful. Out loud, it’s a burner… on headphones, it’s a world to sink into and admire the project’s instigator Arvo Zylo’s studio mastery.

Understand that I’m not generally a fan of power electronics. While some people surely do it well and have made its tropes their own (Pharmakon is far and away the best going right now, but also Ramleh, Bloodyminded, probably a couple others), it seems hopelessly anachronistic as a genre. At PE’s inception in the early 80s, it made sense a response to Thatcher and Reagan, the rise of the Christian right, popular nostalgia for a white-washed 1950s, economic polarization and racial tension, punk and post-punk giving way to corporate synth-pop… white dudes screaming about transgression had a particular place as a micro-sub-genre of industrial noise. In the 21st century, power electronics has been embraced by non-ironic right-wing edgelords who think that being aggressively vague about taboo subjects is the same as having something to say about them. For the most part, this crap is as provocative as a wilted salad. Blood Rhythms, however, is power-electronics that rises above genre. Not only is each song a self-contained unit full of depth, space and drama, but “Civil War” also succeeds as a cycle of songs that grows stronger in sequence, a single album-length statement that makes deliberate use of every minute of its run time. 

For sure, Zylo does shout over feedback (such is power electronics), but he also builds a
uniquely uncomfortable tension with jarring juxtapositions and a wide range of compositional
ideas. The first side begins with “Closure” (har har), an elegy for reeds (baritone sax? bass
clarinet?) around which weave multiple whispered vocal lines and crumbling close-mic’d
percussive rattle. “Sick Skin” is a Prurient-ish feedback shriek, the most genre-representative thing on the album, but noteworthy for how Zylo spaces component sounds around the stereo field to give an impression of depth and motion. It’s followed by the mournful growl of “Locked Away”, an ugly grunt of self-laceration set to mournful reeds and layers of noise that shift steadily sideways with textures that change subtly as new elements are brought in and out. At one notable moment on “The Face”, I audibly gasped when the introductory passage of nervous industrial sequencers slams against a mountain-sized brass section. Blammo! As the song builds, a howl of gray shrieking despair becomes a wall of pummeling acoustic drums, reminding me of Taiko drumming or Crash Worship. The album ends with a punishingly bleak two-part blurgh called “Alchemy + Grief”, which has Zylo exhuming his voice from some buried brain horror as a steady roll of beatless metal-sheering percussion amps up the anxiety. Instead of catharsis, "Civil War" simply ends, dropping the listener callously off a cliff.

    Zylo is the main voice of Blood Rhythms, but on “Civil War” he’s joined by Dave Phillips (of Schimpfluch), Dan Burke (Illusion of Safety), Wyatt Howland (Skin Graft), Mike Weis (Zelienople) and other players. The LP comes in a gatefold sleeve with a 44 page art book. (HS)
––– Address: https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/

The CIVIL WAR LP was also reviewed by the excellent Lost In A Sea of Sound site.  Here is an excerpt:

The spirit being pierced by anti-harmony and severe turmoil. Voices cry in anguished urgency. There is no help for them, these sounds only a warning from the dimensional nexus. A place beyond current perception, an open aural pathway most would refuse to travel. BLOOD RHYTHMS is just downright scary. Knowing these sounds lurk within those around us could be even more frightening. Is this a completely rearranged creativity or is there a direct connection to an unknown world, dark and foreboding by the carefree standards of today's society? When music ceases to be and the cacophonous sounds become hyper focused, thoughts race and reach to understand. This composition titled CIVIL WAR defies rational thoughts. From the shrill opening tones, through both garbled and crystal clear messages, a drone like glue of electronic static holds everything together for a brief listen. The unknown reasons these sounds were made, clearly has purpose and tremendous significance.

Additionally, the New BLOOD RHYTHMS CIVIL WAR LP was aired on WZRD, alongside Meat Beat Manifesto, Illusion of Safety, Skozey Fetisch, T. Rex, Mars, Eraserhead OST, Hans Grusel's Krankenkabinet, Spider Compass Good Crime Band, COIL, and more.  Listen HERE

Additionally, Bob Bucko Jr's track for the split with Arvo Zylo on no part of it was aired in a different episode, alongside Pharmakon, Death Factory, Tom Recchion, Kaada, Alien Sex Fiend, The Electric Flag, Orchid Spangiafora, Nautical Almanac, and more.  Listen Here.

Copies of the CIVIL WAR LP are now available at Easy Street,  Wall of Sound, Singles Going Steady, and Zion's Gate record stores in Seattle.   Copies are also available at RRRECORDS and Hanson Records, although they may not be available online from these locations yet.